Comcast pledges US$100 mil for ‘social justice and equity’

LOS ANGELES: Media-entertainment conglomerate Comcast said Monday it was committing US$100 million in a multiyear initiative for “social justice and equity” following the widespread civil unrest in the US following the killing by police of a black man in Minneapolis.

“We know that Comcast alone can’t remedy this complex issue. But you have my commitment that our company will try to play an integral role in driving lasting reform,” said Brian Roberts, chairman and chief executive, in an online post.

“Together, we hope to help create a more equitable, just and inclusive society.”

The company, which operates one of the largest cable and broadband services and owns NBCUniversal with its NBC television operations, is pledging to spend US$75 million in cash and offer US$25 million in media over the next three years, “in addition to the existing commitments our company currently makes to thousands of organisations”, according to Roberts.

The move comes amid protests in dozens of cities following the death of George Floyd, which highlighted other cases of police misconduct impacting African Americans.

A week earlier, Roberts expressed “outrage over the far too familiar and frequent acts of violence against the Black community, and to acknowledge the structural racism that fuels these injustices” and said he had been working to mobilise a response as a company.

“While we recognise we don’t have all the answers, we agree it’s time that we start putting our words into real, sustainable action,” he wrote.

Comcast intends to work with rights organisations including the NAACP, National Urban League and others in the initiative.

The plan also calls for an acceleration of “diversity and inclusion” in hiring, training and advancement of minorities and increased efforts to eliminate bias in the workplace.

Roberts added that Comcast “will put the full weight of our company’s media resources behind highlighting black voices and black stories and educating our viewers on diverse and inclusive cultures, perspectives and experiences”.

He said Comcast would step up efforts to eliminate “digital inequities” by expanding internet access for low-income households and boosting skills training.